Letters: Atos In £2k Disability Discrimination Settlement

EMBARGO: Not for release before 1.00 am Friday 12th April 2013

Atos Protests4I’m a 20+ years moderate to severely affected ME sufferer.

Atos Healthcare have paid out £2,000 + costs (in the process of being finalised) in an out-of-court settlement of a disability discrimination claim arising from an Employment & Support Allowance Work Capability Assessment (WCA) in August 2011. As far as I have been able to find out it is one of the first Equality Act discrimination claims from a benefit claimant that Atos have faced.

I made it clear in the ESA50 form, which is sent out as the first stage of the assessment, that I needed to be able to travel door-to-door in a car or taxi to avoid the assessment having a significant impact on my health because of severe post exertional fatigue and pain.

I was sent to a WCA appointment at the Atos Bradford site, which is in the city centre pedestrian zone, with no disabled parking or drop-off point. The nearest drop-off point is 60m away if you disregard parking, waiting and loading restrictions.

I was amazed when Atos told me in a letter that the ESA50 form – which has a section which specifically asks claimants about their access needs – “is not viewed in detail by the administrative staff, save to link it to the appropriate file on receipt of the completed questionnaire”, and that I should have telephoned to tell them again about my access needs.

All Atos needed to do was refer me to their Halifax or Leeds sites both of which, I have since discovered, are more accessible than Bradford.

It is unacceptable that a government-funded assessment which sick and disabled people, many with mobility problems, have no option about attending takes place in an inaccessible location without disabled parking or a drop off point near the door.

To specifically ask about access needs in the ESA50 form, and then not have adequate processes in place to respond properly to those access needs leaves me totally astounded.

Atos tried to argue that they were not bound by the Equality Act when delivering WCAs, and so did not need to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people, and also tried to claim that I was not disabled, as defined by the Equality Act 2010.

An expert medical report, ordered by the Court, concluded that there was “no doubt” that the impact on my condition [as a result] of the events of 9 August 2011 were “significant”, and that “certainly several steps could have been taken to avoid the exacerbation of symptoms”.

At the WCA I was award 0 points and assessed as fit for work, [the] DWP rubber stamped that advice. It went to appeal where I was placed in support group after a 5 minute hearing – after waiting months on reduced benefit.

Most of the claim/court process I handled myself, The Equality & Human Rights Commission become involved as my legal representatives a couple of months before the settlement was agreed.

My complaint could have been settled earlier on with a proper apology and a commitment from Atos to make the necessary changes to procedures to take into account the individual access needs of claimants.

Sadly, the culture at Atos appear such that they are unwilling to admit mistakes and learn from them. Throughout the process Atos refused repeatedly to commit to make appropriate changes.

I have recently received another ESA50 form to start the whole process again – about 10 months after the appeal decision.

Receiving the ESA50 without warning this morning was a sickening blow leaving me oscillating between utter despair and extreme anger.

How am I supposed to stand any chance of keeping my health stable, let alone managing to improve it, if the DWP are constantly harassing me and thousands of others like me with their revolving door approach to reassessment? This will be my THIRD time through this in 5 years.

In 2008 I went through the same charade of Atos assessment, fit for work, appeal, wait for months, full Incapacity Benefit restored and backdated.

So this will be my third time through the revolving door assessment scam within 5 or 6 years. More profit for Atos and to hell with the health of claimants.

 

Mr David Johnson

Note To Journalists: David has informed us that he may be willing to discuss his case but is unable to travel. Please contact us should you wish to be put in touch.

Equality & Human Rights Commission Press Office: 0161 829 8102 (out of hours mobile 07767 272 818) or email [email protected] for comments/quotes.

 

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62 COMMENTS

  1. My heart goes out to people here who have far worse health problems than i do…i only fall asleep a bit too much in the day time ( i have narcolepsy) so of course i cant stay awake for 8 hours straight to earn a full time wage like most healthy folks can. BUT , again, like so many people here have written also, i scored 0 points on the assessment questions sheet….so despite me writing in detail about my condition, and despite my gp also writing a letter about my condition, the not scoring any points thing held sway for about a year, until i fortunately won my appeal right out of the blue and without having to go to tribunal as i was told i would have to. The questions that have the points accrued to them, bear no relation whatsoever to my illness, and it is demeaning to us and anyone else who has any kind of health condition or disability, that they , so called health professionals, believe that they can sum up alll the different symptoms of allll the different health problems in only several questions !! I also found the first medical deeply humiliating..yes i can raise my right arm, yes i can raise my left leg and hold it there without falling over !!! gggggrrRRR !! The only things they deal with, are to imagine that someone cannot move physically very well ( ie in a wheelchair or unable to walk unassisted etc )….or the mental health side of things…beyond that they have no conception of what it is like to have any kind of different health problem, and it makes my blood boil, to read the stories on here from other people, who have suffered so badly due to their incompetence x

    • The Equality Act 2010 has a very interesting section on what being disabled means with examples and what must be taken into account by people like Atos (use the term lightly, guess which one).
      One example is Atos/DWP say that if you can walk round a supermarket you can easily walk over 400m (so nil points) however case law says that the shopping troley acts as a walking aid and pain/discomfort must be taken into account.
      Equality Act says it is unreasonable to expect a disabled person to stop shopping even if it exacerbates the condition.
      Lots of info on effects of environment, indirect effects, cumulative effects of an impairment and so on. DWP must take Equality Act guidance into account- well worth a read and then a trip to the small claims court..

  2. I am wondering if detrimental stress related symptoms caused by further unnecessary examinations or assessment could be subject to a personal damages claim – as a system that inflicts “pain and suffering”
    on the “harassed” individual – just a thought!

    • Hi Steven,
      Have you checked to see if your condition exempts you from attending medicals? Google the exemptions.
      I actually think there must be a way to make them accountable for the additional stress, pain and so on that they and the medicals cause -especially when it is clear that some conditions will never get better but only get worse. Putting people through unnecessary medicals is then abuse.
      Again, I think taking the matter to the Small Claims court or similar is a possible way forward.
      If anyone knows any different please let us know.

  3. I found that you do not need to complete the ESA50. ATOS do not read the forms or even check you have returned them. Computer automatically sends out your date for medical. Two instances of this to my knowledge. Presumably the forms are designed to cause us mental anguish. Standard government training – told to do something complete with threats if you do not obey.

      • Not only has the ESA50 not been returned in time, it has not been returned at all. Benefits not stopped. You have taken their threats seriously. I telephoned ATOS after returning the first form two years ago. They admitted they did not read them and never checked them off to see who had returned them.

      • I needed extra info before sending mine back (filled in by CAB). Wrote to DWP and Job center (one letter recorded) asking for extension on time limit. Both letters were ignored.

  4. My family is also being harassed by ATOS (IT partners of the BBC who have colluded to cover up institutional child abuse Pindown, which Jimmy Savile was involved in)

    I dont know where to turn for help. Its my daughter and her partner, its making them so ill, its affecting the whole family. PLEASE CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT TO DO?

    There ‘s no legal aid solicitor in Stafford who will take it on, they only do criminal defence now, so theres no resource for people who are being maliciously harassed by ATOS

    ATOS receptionists have had secret little meetings discussing my daughter health problems, and that is illegal! They have lied so many times, and they have got a big thick file on my daughter.

    I thought they were harassing them because of me being one of the Staffordshire Pindown child abuse victims – its all been covered up by the BBC – ATOS being their IT partners, but other people are getting the same vile and illegal treatment from these bullies.

    Please help us, I just dont know where to turn to.

  5. This is absolutely disgusting! We should all lobby MP’s to ensure that ATOS is not used ever again!
    There are so many people who rely totally on Welfare and through no fault of their own – you may be lucky to be fit and healthy and not have anything to do with ATOS – but help those people who are unfortunate enough to be in such a position!

    • The Gov employ more psychologists than the NHS.
      They knew exactly what they were doing when they tried to turn the ‘tax payers’ on to the ‘benefit scroungers’.
      It worked for a while till the Gov and media got a very hushed up slap on the wrist (hate crime surely?)
      I paid tax for 30 years, it was my duty to pay it not say what it should be used for.

  6. I was put fit for work in 2009 when I was due major surgery, had agraphobia, severe depression and anxiety, full daily bladder loss I could not control, and was in terrible pain from the huge cyst on my ovary which was twisted into my bladder and lower back nerves. I was made to go to a assessment and the HCP lied about my conditions and said I did not have them (GP later backed up I did have them) and scored me 0 points. The assessment report did not contain most of my conditions that were written in my ESA50 – the HCP left out I was having councelling and put I had councelling in past.

    I had my benefits stopped JCP did not send my appeal rights as I did not know about appeals it took 19 days to put my appeal in I sent a Med3 so JCP could pay me at appeal rate but this was lost I was not told until 8 days after JCP took my appeal they did not have this Med3 that was why they did not pay me. JCP had copies of my Med3 also.
    I sent my letter of admission for surgery I went into surgery with no benefits for support and came out to find no money- I was made to drive my car into town after major surgery to get the duplicate Med3 which was lost only to find they accepted the copied one anyway. I went home and bled for 10 days.

    I was left without money for a month and put my life in danger so I think I had it worse than the man who is in the news.

    Everyone tried to cover it all up and Ombudsman office would not investigate although they had evidence of what happened to me with the HCP and her report. ATOS wanted to pay me compensation going through JCP about this- JCP ignored the ATOS email to them and at PHSO level ATOS LIED to PHSO and said it was upto JCP to make compensation but PHSO said they did not need to do this!

    I suffered more than the above also which Ombudsman office has just finsished investigating other complaints in 2009 of JCP.
    My life is ruined and my health is worse than ever. I have devloped more health problems and have been put back in my mental health by 30 years.

    I got nothing but four years in complaints with ATOS, JCP, ICE and Ombudsman office and only got £50 for the bad handling of my complaints on 2 stages I was not compensated at IT stage and ICE and Ombudsman office ignored this also.

    I endured two investigating ATOS Drs who tried to cover up the assessment report by saying it met standards it did not. At IT stage they admitted a small part that the report did not meet standards and the HCP may have been effected by what I had written in my ESA50!

    On my appeal the 2nd DM put that I had monthly bladder loss unkown to me until 2013 and put me just after my major surgery into a WRAG group to look for work. I was not sent fresh appeal rights and was not told what the DM had scored me on and as I did not know my rights or about appeals I could not appeal his/her decsion that monthly bladder loss was wrong.

    • Also have to say I have all paper work to back up what I am saying. Anyone can read how at 2 stages the ATOS Dr;s invesitgating my complaints lied and state the report met standards one being the manger of the HCP who knew her so I did not stand a chance of ATOS telling the truth but covering up for their staff and making out I did not understand the ESA process -I think it was the other way around they do not undertand the real process.

      I have the Independant Case Examiner in one report on my complaints say I had become disillusioned and adversery and bombarded JCP with copius amounts of correspondence when infact ICE knew I had only sent my appeals and evidence for my appeals and complaints about the HCP report. ICE had no rights to attack me in their report because I had made appeals and complaints of the HCP report. I was attacked about my mental health problems when they did this and ICE had no rights. PHSO would not say anything about what ICE did in their report and basically said it was OK for them to say it!

      If ATOS want to sue me for saying what I am saying then they can it will expose what happened to me then.

    • Did you go to the Parliamentary Ombudsman?
      Surely a ‘no win no fee’ solicitor could help- although I have been told that most will not take on Atos or the DWP..
      This is really, really awful, all I can offer you is an internet hug, you poor thing. The things these ba*tards get away with is beyond.
      I wouldn’t let it rest, you deserve better, anyone does. Can’t you email a law center for advice?
      Hope you manage to kick them where it hurts.-use hob nail boots.

  7. I suffer from Post Traumatic stress disorder and arthritis in my knee. Despite well documented evidence I had to attend a medical. The toilets were down stairs so no account given to mobility problems. During the medical I was asked if I have compulsive behaviour. I am not a psychiatrist and do not know what this means and I have never been asked this before. It is like a trick question, anything to try and stop your benefit.

  8. Hi, I had a doctor from ATOS visit me in late (January 2013) , without informing me of the visit first.
    I had previously appealed my Atos decision of having been given no points, and successfully won, (november 2012). I suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, for which I receive treatment for 4 times a year at a specialst centre for ex-service personnel and to which i attend for 10days at a time. also take Sertraline for it, I also have arthritis of the spine, which severely limits my movement of my head and chronic pain in lower spine. am on Gabapentin for the spinal pain management.. Just last week i received another health questionnaire from Atos to complete, at which at the end, I asked why could they not use the info that the doctor got in January be used. I am still waiting a reply, No doubt it will arrive when I go into respite care next week and i will get punished for not answering them !!!

    JIMMY

  9. i have been seen by a nurse – her title was disabilty assessor i believe – who did not look at my main problems, epileptic and non epileptic seizures. She had no experience with neurological problems as she told me that normal minds or normal people would think of things to make life easier. I have no short memory.

  10. I will be recording and videoing my home visit and if they refuse to allow me to do so, I will kick up a big stink with anyone I can. It doesn’t seem to matter what health issue you have, They will still give you 0 points. Remember David Cameron wanted to slash 20% off the DLA benefit even before seeing the disabled claimants.I really think that behind closed doors he wanted it the other way round, 80% reduction of DLA benefits!! He should remember that when his son was alive he took advantage of ALL disability benefits available for his son. Now we have to fight for every penny IF we are entitled to any! the letter on its own to tell you that you need an assessment makes you ill. The government are taking money from the people who are not able to fight or who are too poorly to fight for what they are entitled too. Its not fair and its not right. When the disabled groups went to london to protest it wasn’t even televised yet a few thousand people went there to protest. It seems that no-one is listening to us nor want to help us.

    • Make sure you ask for the assessor number (they have to give you it). If you complain to the GMC they can be struck off!!

      • They can be struck off but it is highly unlikely.
        I did a Freedom of Info request to GMC asking how many ATOS ‘doctors’ had been reported (in connection with DWP medical assessments) from 2009 – Dec 2013.
        GMS states:
        There were 149 cases of this nature during that time period.
        The cases relate to 126 doctors as some have more than one complaint against them.
        Remember that a case must be serious for GMC to take it up.
        15 of these cases are still under investigation (involving 14 doctors)- the outcome of the remaining 134 cases (complaints):
        Closed: 120 (no action taken!!)
        Closed with advice: 10 (not even a slapped wrist)
        Warnings: 3 (a light slap on the wrist)
        Undertakings: 1 (?? a slap and a warning??)

        So complaints MUST be of a serious nature before GMC will take them up but around 90% of complaints result in no action being taken.
        Does anyone else find this very disturbing?
        I made a complaint to Atos about a ‘doctor’ and the false medical report he wrote.
        Atos upheld my complaint, tho the fake report lost me my tribunal.
        I reported the ‘doctor’ (discredited ‘doctor) to the GMC. They upheld my complaint. What action did they take? Dr Navas was told he could no longer do Atos medicals.
        These people can lie, they can misrepresent, assume, surmise, make up, lie again and nothing gets done to them.
        You try lying on your DWP forms for benefits and see how quickly you end up in court!!
        You can however take the DM or the ‘doctors’ to a small claims court under the Equality Act 2010 for loss of benefits, distress etc.
        That is the way we need to go.
        I’m making a complaint to DWP before the Parliamentary Ombudsman and then will sue the doctor, er discredited ‘doctor’.

  11. i have just recieved my form i am terrified about filling it in i am terrified about the actual assesment after reading all the horror stories i know i will be found fit because i can lift a cardboard box but i know i still wont be able to work because of my as yet undiagnosed illness my son who is my carer will lose his carers allowance and will have to find work because we wont be able to find the rent or pay the utilities and i will be left alone unable to move until he returns. i know i sound like a right sad sack but this i fear is the harsh reality of my life

  12. Richard Farrar, you mirror my own words!

    How much longer do we all have to suffer this twisted, cruel SCAM the Government have imposed on us?

    Karma will see its demise it, it always does in the end!

  13. I'am going through my second appeal for ESA 2 weeks after I was told I was fit for work I was awarded DLA high rate mobility and middle rate carers after a form that was filled in by my GP supporting what I had put on my application for DLA. I have a number of medical problems including severe arthritis, and diabetic nuroapthey I can not walk without pain so have to use a wheelchair which I can not propel myself has I have nerve damage in my hands. My husband has had to give up work to care for me full time so we have now been able to transfer to Income support but they still keep sending for me to go to back to work interviews. I have worked for 35 years paid tax and NI now when I need help I have had to fight for everything.

    • But the poor sods in the Gov need all the money they can get to give the EU millions every day. Not to mention half of the world who come here for hand outs and never paid a penny in before arriving (or after in many cases).
      I also worked and paid in for 30 yrs, 25 of them as a nurse.

  14. I nearly committed suicide after the last one. It was so demeaning and dehumanising. I was repeatedly asked "do you shop in a corner shop or in a supermarket?" by which time I was is such a state of distress I could not function. That was 6 months ago and was placed on the Support Group. Just gor my third form this week and started self harming in front of my Social Worker. I do not want to play any more. I hate myself enough for becoming ill after WORK RELATED trauma when my colleagues were killed and I had to sort out the aftermath and repatriate bodies to this country. I wish it had been me. Sorry to be so negative but I am sick and tired of it all.

    • Big hugs to you Alison

      I think to some extent we all feel humiliated by the process. I certainly do. Ones' self esteem is low enough as it is.

      Having gone through what you have it is even more understandable but your words reverberate with our feelings too.

      Hope you can stay strong and you can get to a place where you won't be down on yourself. They want you to feel that way and it is wrong.

      Take care xxx

    • Dear Alison,

      I don't know if this story will help you at all but I think of it when Atos gets me down. My husband's grandfather survived the Somme and Arras and so many major battles of World War I. Then he had to cope with the Blitz in the 1940s- they were in Croydon which was badly bombed. He still suffered with shell-shock and from wounds sustained in action.

      At the end of the war he saw two German POWs who were waiting to be repatriated sweeping the street. They were cold and hungry, but who cared- they were the enemy.

      He asked the into his home, though he knew his neighbours would never forgive him. It was Christmas Day.

      The neighbours never DID forgive him, but this is the legacy of courage that has helped my husband cope with being a carer twice and losing many things and people dear to him, and now it helps me when I think of Atos as those neighbours who were not really in the right at all even though they had the power to be cruel and hurtful- they broke his windows. He had won the military Cross, yet it seems that it is the battles those who have seen conflict have to fight after they come home that are the hardest.

      Wishing you luck

      Much love xx

    • Hugs to you Alison. I know it isn’t easy, I’m absolutely dreading the next ESA50 that plops on my mat. It is NOT your fault you are ill. One of my Nana’s favourite phrases was “don’t let the b*stards grind you down”, easier said than done but I hope you manage :)

  15. My wife received a letter from the DWP on the 23 march confirming her appeal had been upheld and she was put into the support group. In the same post on the same day she also received her You got it wrong go back to square one and start again letter. It would seem ATOS is disabled and in need of a bloody good thumping to knock some sense into who ever is pretending to run this service

  16. Ihave had chronic fatigue syndrome for 16 months and been unable to work. My sick pay ran out in July last year. Claimed esa Atos sent me for an assessment at sheffield centre. After seeing me for 15 minutes they decide I score no points need 15. Could get no money not paid enough NI contributions. Waited months for an appeal saw some patronising old man who said it's nothing to do with your health you haven't paid enough ni end of story.

    Tried claiming dla, waste of time they said allow 8 weeks for a decision to be made, I got an answer within 3 days looked at your esa claim you are not entitled to anything go back to work.

    I have appealed and told them I want to see a doctor who knows how variable an illness ME/CFS is. Waitng to hear now.

  17. TIME FOR THE DISABLED TO JOIN AS ONE AND BE HEARD PLEASE ADD YOUR FRIENDS AND ANY WHO WILL SUPPORT US

    Group link – please copy and paste into address bar

    facebook.com/groups/479586538776371/

    THE MORE OF US THERE ARE THE BETTER ARE CHANCES AT MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN THIS COUNTRY AND AROUND THE WORLD

    ALSO YOU WILL FIND ON THE FORUM:

    PETITIONS:

    ATOS TO BE REMOVED FROM DWP ASSESSMENTS AND INVESTIGATIONS INTO ATOS THE DWP AND GOVERNMENT

    CAMERON & OSBORNE TO RESIGN

    PETITION FROM THE DISABLED UK TO AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL THE MORE SIGNATURES WE GET THE BETTER RESPONSE WE WILL GET FROM THE MONTHLY AGM 13-14TH APRIL

    EVENTS & CAMPAIGNS:

    GIVE CAMERON THE SHIRT OFF YOUR BACK (MAY 31ST) A CAMPAIGN THAT YOU CAN TAKE PART IN FROM YOUR HOME WITH THE HELP OF A FRIEND.

    ITS TIME TO BE COUNTED, TIME TO BE HEARD GET INVOLVED AND INVITE ALL THOSE WHO WILL SUPPORT OUR CAUSE!!!

    AS INDIVIDUALS WE CAN BE HEARD BUT NOT ENOUGH TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE JOINED AS ONE VOICE WE WILL BE HEARD AND WE WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE

    TIME TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE TIME TO GET INVOLVED

  18. I wonder where people will now fair though since the change in the legal aid law .Well done on your brilliant result . Atos and their assessments are a disgrace and inhumane ,and the reports consisting of nothing but lies

  19. Atos were trying to force my husband who has poverty of speech to attend two seperate appointments miles apart just after moving with no doctors in place yet,the impact on my health and his was huge,my BP argueing for him went up to 250,as he was claiming for both of us it meant to have him fail would of had awful consequences,I took us off ESA to save my death and his sanity ,it was complete disability discrimination, MIND and also solicitors contacted did not say they could provide help,so we got none,we had to go onto other benefits,indeed my husband should never of been placed on ESA anyway it was not a new claim,they just slid him across fromIncome support,rather insane in it self!Instead of being able to answer questions he would of just replied"I dont know" and vomited everywhere with stress it was an impossible situation they placed me in,I would of died of a stroke or heart attack trying to get him there!!

  20. I have specific learning difficulties that were assessed by an educational psychologist when I was in my early twenties (nearly a decade ago now) and he told me that my difficulties are such that they are considered a disability. My difficulties revolve around mostly sound information and communication. When I had an assessment from ATOS via work they asked how I coped with banking online (fine, I have a highish reading ability and a well above average ability) from that answer decided that I didn't really have learning difficulties and don't have a disability and therefore my problems aren't covered by the Equalitiies Act 2010.

    So it really doesn't surprise me that they tried to find a way to say that you aren't disabled David.

    A word to the wise for those going through Atos due to ESA; once your decision has been made (ie WRAG or SG) you have the right to know how long they're applying their decision for. You can then know to expect another ESA50 a couple of months before the end of the period. Doesn't stop you having to go through it, but at least with knowing you won't have to suffer the stress of the form turning up out of the blue.

  21. I had a different kind of problem.

    The doctor I saw at the medical was good, he knew about ME, I also had a representative with me. The doctor said that he was going to recommend that I was not fit to work, he also asked me if I thought it had been progressive, which for me, over the last 25 years it had.he then added a very telling comment, saying that if 'they' asked him to change his recommendations, he wouldn,t!

    Of course, I was put in the WRAG group, went through the old phone interviews etc….awaited appeal, contacted them in the end after 6months to see what was happening with it, only to be told that, surprise, surprise, a decision had been made only a few days earlier!!! And was now in the support group, a letter would be on it's way to me. Of course it didn,t arrive,, so I had to contact them again.they seem to be in a right muddle.

    By question is'if the doctor I saw was going to recommend I was put in the support group, why does the decision maker not take his views into account? What was the point of a medical if they were going to ignore it?'

    • ‘”What was the point of a medical if they were going to ignore it?”‘

      Sue, the answer to that is that we are being led a not so merry dance, implemented purely to break us, its nothing more than a Governmental SCAM. They won’t get away with this, not in the end- we just need to stick together.

  22. I’ve had problems in the past, like Prickly Pear, with the ATOS centre in the middle of Sheffield. With M.E., just getting there (with help from kind friend with car) from the far side of Rotherham, was totally exhausting & disorientating. The whole trip, not surprisingly, had knock-on detrimental effects on my health (with the usual Post Exertional Neuroimmune Exhaustion) for weeks afterwards. Without my elderly mum accompanying me, to carry stuff, negotiate the confusing signs and as a shoulder for a pillow & prop in the uncomfy waiting area etc, it would have been unmanageable even on a (relatively) better day, let alone a bad one.
    Delighted to see the pig-headed obstructiveness of ATOS successfully challenged by Mr. Johnson. Nothing would surprise me any more about “the system”, but it’s heartening that legitimate challenges like this can win. That revolving door still remains to have a wedge put against it, I reckon!

  23. I've been assessed three times in three years, I have a degenerative spinal condition, and according to the judge at my last tribunal "should not be put in this position again", after a home visit from ATOS guy (who stopped me walking more than a few feet, as he was satisfied that I was in too much pain) wrote on the form that in his opinion I could probably walk 200 meters. ATOS and the DWP are jokes as are this government.

  24. I suggest Mr Johnson sends this report to Parliament, individual copies to IDS, Mcvey and the PM, plus of course, all the National Press offices !!

  25. also what is interesting to note is that its the DWP who decide where the WCA asessments centres are not ATOS – so inpart the government is breaking the EqualityAct by not providing accessible buildings.

  26. I too have been through the revolving door of testing & appeals, the NHS said I won’t get better & risk getting worse if I don’t manage condition well. But the DWP & ATOS continue to hound me even though the DWP know I want to work & have job offers, they also know I’ve done permitted work trials which affected me so badly after two weeks working 3 hours a day 2 days a week they employer ended it. I’ve also created work whilst ill for over a dozen UK businesses, one invention The Plugster® has been given to thousands of elderly & disabled in the UK. Whilst Ill I also did voluntary work for local charity shops & I helped acquire from local businesses sufficient I.T. equipment to set up a CCTV system to deter shoplifters, it has helped catch several & reduce the amount of stolen goods.

  27. I had my assessment aborted by NURSE who refused to carry out the assessment due to being not qualified enough to deal with my complex conditions. I got my M.P involved since Oct 12 ATOS have refused to communicate with me directly. I have written 6 letters no reply, numerous e mails no reply. I have appealed to the Independent tribunal no reply. What haveI done? That’s a brilliant result lets hope more people do this and show these money grabbing wasters they are not above the law

  28. I have seen the ‘revolving door’ thing many times. In some case, I have seen it take 10 months for someone to get the help they need, backdated. It simply isn’t acceptable.

  29. ” Atos workers received a memo from DWP highlighting ME and Fibro as illnesses that are difficult to ascertain if the “customer” has. But they mustn’t use the word malingering. Use a more positive description. ”

    The Benefits and Work site states that the DWP is institutionally hostile towards these conditions , it’s ” interesting ” that the right wing papers have attacked and smeared this site in some very curious articles . There was even a crawler put on it , so corporates could check anything that could be deemed as negative coverage , even slanderous / libellous .

    http://thebrokenofbritain.blogspot.co.uk/2011/03/me-and-my-atos-test.html

    ” Something struck me though during the process, he kept referring to CFS in a “mental” disorder, rather than a neurological condition. I called him out on this at the end of the session and he explained that the computer test is set that way.. However, this link from @latentexistence clearly shows that CFS is regarded as a physical condition for DLA claimants. I hope that when the current ATOS test is reformed, this is corrected. ”

    Firstly this is the UNUM ( ( formerly the outlawed UNUM Provident ) for running Disability Denial Factories ) influence , conditions such as CFS , ME , Fibro etc were deemed to affect profitability , in any case they could be classed as mental illness after 24 months so the Employment Protection insurance didn’t have to be paid out .

    …………….basically it’s apparently ” all in the mind ” , there are ATOS horror stories about obviously ill people in the UK government initial trial areas such as Burnley , being told this despite incontrovertible evidence to the contrary – unfortunately on the balance of probabilities ……………………I’m inclined to believe them ……..there are also horror stories about ATOS looking for miracle cures for the likes of Aids and Downs Syndrome during the same trials .

    It all ties into the Bio – psychosocial model that UNUM use , it’s basically targeted psychiatric research to back up very right wing / far right sociology ………” Colourful ” ex city characters such as Lord Freud subscribe to all this ……the reality is that is outdated 90′s pseudo science ……..remember when ME was dismissed as ” Yuppie Flu ” , something that only happened to mostly neurotic middle class women in that era .

    The original UNUM paper to influence New Labour Govt Policy was entitled ” Malingering and Deception in illness ” …….the problem was that New Labour’s Blairite Ultras like Milburn , Hutton , Purnell and ” Flakey ” Frank Field thought they’d outflanked the Tories , kept the right wing tabloids like the Mail and Express off their backs , & appeased swing voters in marginal seats ………it didn’t really work …….the likes of IDS , Grayling and Miller took things to unprecedented levels from 2010 onwards .

    Basically it’s a starting position of ” we don’t really believe you and we’ll trip you up , any but which way ” …..illegal insurance industry definitions and methods . ATOS use the same LIMA ” computer says no ” tick box software designed by UNUM , the WCA and it’s predeccessor the PCA is ” remarkably similar ” to the UNUM or UNUM Provident MDA ( Medical Disability Asssessment ) ………ATOS also insisted on the use of said LIMA software when their lawyers and barristers negotiated the DWP ” assessment ” contract for ” non medical ” ” medicals ” .

    The DWP is institutionally incapable of acting independently .

    There’s also the musical chairs with the CEOs within the DWP/Govt / ATOS / UNUM unholy trinity …it stinks of nepotism .

    Also going back to Humphrey Cushion and her ATOS ” assessment ” …….she had incurred the wrath of hard right euro sceptic Tory Nadine ” Mad Nads ” Dorries ……she blogged on the lines …I see a Daily Mail scandal coming on ……….the reasoning was if someone could do so many tweets …Humphrey Cushion could do an office job ……the sort of thing that would appeal to the send ‘em all back , string ‘em , hang ‘em high DM readers …also it would kill two birds with one stone …..hopefully teach her a authoritarian lesson to ” button up her mouth ” and not make trouble for people . The ” assessment ” was a ” interesting ” coincidence .

  30. How do others cope with the ATOS building in Sheffield? I had a friend drop me off by car outside but then they had to drive away to go park the car using my Disabled Blue Badge. Meanwhile this meant they couldn't help me into the building. There was a staff entrance on the ground floor but the access for everyone being assessed was up a very steep outside ramp. The ramp curved upwards as if it was a path up a mountain with switchbacks. I can only assume the destination was the second floor rather than first floor. It was a cold and rainy day in October and I have a heart condition so by the time I struggled up the ramp I was frozen and soaking wet (had an umbrella). I was not in a fit state for an assessment either but it went ahead and I was found 'fit for work'. I won my appeal.

  31. I spoke to someone having discovered the Barnsley office is on the third floor.

    The guy in Cardiff offered me Bradford which I see has so much better access.

    I said it was too far so was offered Pontefract and Huddersfield. Again I said that was too far.

    The chap went away and told me that he would email a colleague to arrange a home visit.

    No letter arrived. Phoned back (same number) This time I spoke to a woman in Newcastle. and was told that the letter had not been sent.

    Someone would phone me back, but it might take a day as communication would be by email between offices!?

    This is a company with a contract worth how much? They can't contact each other by phone?

  32. I feel your pain, I have been through the same mill with Atos. Don’t despair you will prevail in the end, they will not break you.

  33. Very interesting to read this as I am going through a similar situation with Atos Healthcare right now.

    I have also stated my needs in the relevant sections of the ESA50 (I suffer from Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Syndrome), hell I have even had discussions over the telephone, with Atos Healthcare, asking for my needs to be accomodated, but they have blatenly refused on my previous assessment, and continue to ignore a simple request that could of had this latest examination process over and done with months ago.

    Luckily for me the only known effect, that is being caused by this process, is an awful lot of stress and is not helping my bouts of depression.

    Of course, none of this is new to me. I scored zero points on my first Atos Healthcare assessment, which was overturned by a tribunal 1 year later, shortly after which I was called up for another assessment with Atos Healthcare.

    Interestingly I was awarded lifetime Incapacity Benefit at that assessment, but of course that descision has expired under the new ESA rules of entitlement.

  34. Words fail me. I am in the same position as yourself, being an M.E. sufferer. I will be destitute in four weeks, I have never been assessed. ATOS put me in the group ‘likely to recover’ Yeah. After 15 years of this shit. x

    • Thanks for that Jan just what I need to hear.

      Have had ME for a similar length of time and have my "assessment" in 2 weeks time.

      Atos workers received a memo from DWP highlighting ME and Fibro as illnesses that are difficult to ascertain if the "customer" has. But they mustn't use the word malingering. Use a more positive description.

      So now they are primed and prejudiced before you even get there.

      My local centre is on the 3rd floor. Am told there is a lift but that can't be used in a fire. There are 69 steps. This is a company dealing with sick and disabled people.

  35. It is obvious to anyone who has ever been to a WCA that ATOS take no notice of what is written on these forms about health conditions and their impact on daily life, so the fact they don’t read about people’s needs when attending an assessment comes as no surprise.

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